PAGES 4 and 5 of Tuesday’s National contain a couple of points that I have mentioned in previous letters but are well worthy of further comment.

Can I just touch on the smallest article (Only SNP offer leadership) first?

Nicola Sturgeon is quoted as saying she has the leadership and experience, “to take the country through the pandemic and build a recovery that works for everyone”.

I would have felt much more confident had she said she would “take the country through the pandemic and gain independence so that we can have the tools we require to build a recovery that works for everyone.”

Many of the leading SNP MSPs and MPs have stated categorically that in order to build the kind of country and economy we want we need independence first. That is reflected in the other articles on these two pages discussing Scotland’s deficit.

Some of your contributors are likely to write in, after what I am about to put in writing, and scream “climate change” and “global warming” at me. However, as long as Westminster gives Scotland’s wealth away to others, then it’s no wonder we have a deficit.

Westminster uses a significant amount of the revenue from the North Sea to pay subsidies to the oil companies to fund the removal of their rigs from spent fields. That eats into Scotland’s revenue.

Oil will continue to be extracted, refined and sold, from the Moray Firth despite any global warming measures that Scotland initiates – whether independent or not. This has already been leased to Norway by Westminster. This is taken to Norway by their “nationalised” oil company, refined by them and sold by them. They get all the profits and Scotland receives a paltry amount in taxes.

I believe the estimated value to Norway for this oil is around £20 billion after tax. Scotland will receive only £480 million in tax for this oil.

So, Norway will receive almost 42 times what Scotland gets from its own oil.

Similarly, the oil from the Claire Ridge, which is estimated to hold more oil than the whole of the North Sea – including both the Scottish and Norwegian parts – plus the bit that Tony Blair stole from us and allocated to England as “their” oil – come nowhere near Scotland.

It is transported by BP straight to Holland where they refine it, sell it, and accept the profits on it. That is likely to total, over time, more than the oil fund reserve of some £2 trillion that Norway has built up from its share of North Sea oil.

I believe Westminster considers this as “High Seas Oil” and not Scottish Oil. As such the tax on it goes straight into the Westminster treasury and becomes UK revenue to be dispersed as they see fit.

So, if we calculate this at a similar value to the oil Norway takes, then even the few billion pounds in tax, that might be due, is not guaranteed to come to Scotland.

An independent Scotland must rectify this and the many other abuses of our economy that successive London Governments have perpetrated. Surely £2 trillion is better in our pockets than in Holland’s pocket?

Of course, there’s another problem here. Our only oil distillery – at Grangemouth – was sold by Westminster to an American billionaire. Therefore, until we get independence, we have nowhere to refine any oil we do decide to extract.

Let’s face it, Norway or Holland are not going to stop refining that oil and reaping the profits from it just because the SNP or the Greens want to become world leaders in climate change. We should therefore be prepared to accept that an independent Scotland will take over the production of that oil and continue to meet market needs just as Holland and Norway are presently doing. Therefore, we must either build another oil refinery, (with all the extra jobs that will create), or re-nationalise the Grangemouth refinery.

There are also our utilities that Westminster has sold off. Holland runs our railways. France and Spain run our gas and electric. None of these countries do it for charity. They are making profits that should be coming to an independent Scotland. The many delivery companies throughout the UK wouldn’t be doing it if they were running at a loss. We must renationalise the Post Office and those other industries and put the money in the government’s pocket. That will not happen while we have London Tories in charge. Before Nicola Sturgeon thinks about our economy, she must give our government the tools it needs to put the country’s finances back into profit – through independence.

Charlie Kerr